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Neo Sports to move cable distribution in-house

It will not renew its distribution agreement with MSMD. The arrangement takes effect from April 1, 2014

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 4, 2014


Neo Sports Broadcast, which operates two channels – Neo Sports and Neo Prime – has decided not to renew its cable distribution agreement with MSMD which is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2014 as it will distribute its channels through its in-house team from April 1, 2014. MSMD is the distribution arm of One Alliance.

A Neo spokesman said, “Neo shares a fantastic relationship with DTH operators and other digital platforms and is confident that it will be able to build a similarly robust relationship with cable and HITS companies across the country. The dawn of addressability is a great opportunity for all of us, and we are confident that we will be able to forge an equally robust and healthy relationship with cable companies as we start selling channels directly though our team. It is commendable in the way national cable companies like Den, Hathaway, WWIL, Incable and Digi Cable have worked to hasten the digitisation process pan India even as the regional MSOs and operators continue to aggressively push for faster addressable environment in their respective markets.”

Neo has continued to distribute its channels through its in-house team to DTH and other digital distribution platforms even as it gave away its cable distribution rights to MSMD in 2010. Neo Prime and Neo Sports are currently available on all leading DTH platforms, i.e., Dish TV, Videocon D2H, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance and Sun. In the cable platform, the channels are available across all leading networks nationally and regionally.

Dilip Sharan, EVP, Distribution Platforms, Neo, said, “This is a step in the right direction to further build our business keeping in mind the emerging digital landscape. The suggestive regulatory approach combined with digitalisation clearly points that future distribution deals will be dictated by the relevant content that is made available to various audiences and the ability to work with the platforms keeping in mind the business issues and not entirely on the strength of the channels size in the bouquet, a prevalent practice in the analogue era. Our cable distribution deal with MSMD made better commercial sense in the analogue environment.”

Sharan added, “Our dealing with the DTH operators has reinforced this line of thinking that standalone channels can make for a business case as much and as efficiently in a digital environment provided it can offer very relevant content that has significant traction in various category of sport, is attractively priced and, above all, there is strong intent to engage with its business partner in building a mutually supportive business environment.”

In 2014-15, Neo channels will also be showcasing some of the biggest event in the sport such as the French Open, Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Bundesliga, US PGA, etc. This is in addition to the other live events on the two channels.

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